29 January 2015

Ex Machina, 2015 - ★★★½

It's good to see a smartly made film full of lots of interesting ideas. It's a shame then, when none of the ideas feel fully explored and the end result feels like an unsatisfying episode of Black Mirror. The eventual outcome felt obvious to me very early on, although I don't think the film is predictably written, my mind just happened to see the same path through the labyrinth of ideas that are thrown out there. It's also another film which has a fantastic ending but 5 minutes before the end of the film, I'd have loved to have seen the credits after a door slid closed.

January 29, 2015 at 09:56PM

25 January 2015

The Avengers, 2012 - ★★★★

This second viewing was still a huge amount of fun although perhaps not as great as the first time. I noticed a lot more this time to explain why it works so well. For starters there's all the great dialogue and humour which is far more entertaining than the action sequences. Most action films just end up with a messy and confusing finale and with several heroes this had it's work cut out. It works where so many fail because each sequence is the set up for the next so it all flows together in quite a wonderfully structured way.

January 25, 2015 at 12:11AM

Snow White and the Huntsman, 2012 - ★★

Sadly most of this film is forgettable, it took me a few minutes to remember what film I had actually watched. The dwarf cast is the only real highlight and even they fail to offer anything that great.

January 25, 2015 at 12:05AM

Men in Black 3, 2012 - ★★★

Enough fun to remain entertaining throughout, far from anything special though.

January 25, 2015 at 12:02AM

21 January 2015

My Most Anticipated Films of 2015

My most anticipated films of 2015 (based on UK release).

In no particular order.

...plus 33 more. View the full list on Letterboxd.

January 21, 2015 at 07:25PM

19 January 2015

My Films of 2015

The best/greatest/worthwhile/favourite new films of 2015 ranked as I see them.

This is the list I compiled throughout the year, adding and ranking new releases as I saw them. It is based on UK release date but also includes any new films I saw at festivals or other previews.

January 19, 2015 at 01:11PM

18 January 2015

Whiplash, 2014 - ★★★★★

Whiplash has a great opening scene, perfectly introducing the two main characters without wasting a beat.

The ending is pretty awesome as well.

And so is everything inbetween.

January 18, 2015 at 09:11PM

10 Things I Hate About You, 1999 - ★★★★

Unbelievably this was my first viewing, I thought it made sense to slot it in before seeing Beyond Clueless this afternoon. If analysed too much there are probably more than 10 things to hate but in the end it's just too enjoyable not to love.

January 18, 2015 at 11:58AM

Shell, 2012 - ★★★

There's something quite captivating about the loneliness and beauty displayed in both the film and character of Shell. Throughout there are hints of darkness which, like Steve McQueen's Shame, are mostly left in the past leaving an uncomfortable and ambiguous feeling in the air. When the truth is finally relieved it may not come as a surprise but the details are unexpected and perhaps even more conflicting than the awkwardness of the rest of the film.

January 18, 2015 at 11:50AM

Jay And Silent Bob's Super Groovy Cartoon Movie, 2013 - ★½

Even as a Kevin Smith fan I found this to be puerile nonsense.

January 18, 2015 at 11:31AM

The Help, 2011 - ★★★★

I always feel slightly wary going into award-baiting films which The Help undoubtedly was; there's a danger that everybody is just trying too hard which often makes it difficult to truly appreciate. Early on the film appears to be heading that way, with the outcomes obvious and frequently sailing into cliched waters. Later on there are some great and surprising moments that lift everything up.

It's shocking that however much we think we've been told about segregation and civil rights that there are still more disgraces to discover. One problem with the film is that Bryce Dallas Howard's character is so despicable to everybody else that is almost undermines her racism.

In the end The Help manages to feel worthy, well made and enjoyable which is often not the case.

p.s I don't mean to sound racist but, why all the gingers?

January 18, 2015 at 11:29AM

12 January 2015

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, 2013 - ★★½

After the disappointment of the first film and the understanding this was an improvement I was expecting to like this, but it turns out that it's just more of the same. Looking back at my review of the first film I claimed that things made little sense and although there are some attempts to recap the story early on the bigger problem of the entire set up not making sense remains. I still don't understand why the revolution hasn't happened yet. I don't know how The Games are supposed to work and keep the population under control. If The Games are supposed to be this horrendous thing how are we supposed to feel as the film's audience when half the film is devoted to presenting us the entertainment of Katniss partaking in The Games.

The whole world feel ridiculous and this is highlighted more when Philip Seymour Hoffman turns up in his civvies (perhaps the character dresses like that in the books but I prefer to think of PSH turning up and saying "I'm not wearing that"). It does look like everybody is having fun making the film but everything defies all logic and if you don't get on board it's so easy to start picking holes in everything.

As soon as it starts to get interesting everything is rushed and then cut short for the next film which is almost as infuriating as when the dodgy CGI monkeys turn up.

I'm struggling to justify spending more time with this franchise but I'd still like to see that revolution happen, just like I was 10 minutes into the first film.

January 12, 2015 at 11:04PM

11 January 2015

That Day We Sang, 2014 - ★★★

Nice enough but on reflection probably not really for me. Victoria Wood's voice came through so much in the lyrics which I actually found a little distracting.

January 11, 2015 at 03:31PM

04 January 2015

Arthur Christmas, 2011 - ★★★★

Much better than I expected with some incredibly funny moments towards the end (Grandsanta's final delivery may the hardest I've laughed in a long time). Likely to become a festive regular.

January 04, 2015 at 09:31PM

Playtime, 1967 - ★★★

It's difficult not to admire the craftsmanship behind Playtime, the film always looks fantastic and the precision and attention to detail is amazing. The film starts in a slightly surreal way and becomes more and more chaotic, the chaos starts off entertaining is frequently amusing and occasionally laugh out loud funny but along the way gets messier and messier. By the restaurant scenes I'd really lost interest and found most of the humour passing me by. Every positive review I've seen, states how multiple viewings are required to take everything in, so perhaps I was always focussed on the least interesting part. I would agree there is too much to fully absorb in one viewing but as the film felt stretched out over two hours I can't see myself ever returning. All of the best moments are in the trailer (which also lessened their impact) so perhaps I'll just watch that on a loop instead.

A shame.

January 04, 2015 at 06:52PM

Elf: Buddy's Musical Christmas, 2014 - ★★

I'm not sure what the point of this is supposed to be, I hope at 11 years old the original film isn't seen as too old for some people. A strange animation style is the only interesting thing, everything else falls flat.

January 04, 2015 at 06:25PM

Cinema 2015

The films I saw at the cinema in 2015.

January 04, 2015 at 06:28PM

The Guest, 2014 - ★★★

Starts off as a brilliant classy film full of danger and suspense (with that guy from Downton Abbey) and then about halfway through cuts to a different B-movie (with that guy from The Wire). Things never really recover and everything just goes disappointedly dumb and over the top. Both parts of the film are enjoyable in different ways but the juxtaposition between the two was just too great for one film and left me thinking it was a mess.

At least the soundtrack remains consistently brilliant throughout.

January 04, 2015 at 12:58AM

Around the World in Eighty Days, 1956 - ★★★★½

So I finally find an epic film that I really enjoy and then discover that most people seem to hate it. The film is perfectly bookmarked by a wonderful opening utilising Méliès A Trip To The Moon and credits animated by Saul Bass. The rest of the film really is epic, never have I desired to see a film on a big a screen as possible as I did whilst watching this on TV. Perhaps it is too long but as someone who usually complains about the length of films I didn't really notice and thought the length only made it feel more like an epic journey. Even just as a sequence of visually stunning set pieces it would still be great, but the story is also strong with great characters and a series of entertaining cameos.

January 04, 2015 at 12:48AM

02 January 2015

Fruitvale Station, 2013 - ★★★★

There's a problem with Fruitvale Station caused by the decision to open the film with the camera phone footage (unsure if this was real or reconstructed) from the real life event. By showing where the film is heading it just makes everything else that then happens in the lead up feel manipulative and all the scenes could end with the viewer rolling their eyes in disbelief. Perhaps the real life events are well known to others so the decision to open with the footage made sense to the filmmakers but I wouldn't have felt so manipulated if I didn't know what was going to happen.

Once we catch up with the beginning of the film, the scenes at the station are incredible: shocking, intense, dramatic, horrifying and lift the whole film into the category where it's easy to see why it received all the praise. The rest of the film isn't bad either, Michael B. Jordan delivers a wonderful performance as Oscar Grant and manages to convey the flawed everyman despite the heavy handedness of those scenes.

My advice, if you don't know what happened at Fruitvale Station, is to start watching the film from the title card which appears at 2:25 and it may be a 5 star experience.

January 02, 2015 at 11:34PM

One of Our Dinosaurs Is Missing, 1975 - ★★

Terribly British (in a good way) but horrendously racist (in a bad way). The effects have dated better than the 70s attitudes which just make this awkward to watch.

January 02, 2015 at 08:16PM

01 January 2015

2014: The Time Capsule

If I could only save 20 films from 2014 it would be these.

...plus 10 more. View the full list on Letterboxd.

January 01, 2015 at 02:09PM